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Social Media in Gastroenterology: USG in the Twittersphere


McGoran J, Agnew P, Turner GB, Allen P

Departments / Institutions

Belfast City Hospital, Ulster Hospital

Publication Date

Autumn 2016


Social media has established itself in recent years as a valuable tool in medical professional development. In gastroenterology social media accounts have allowed for greater accessibility to educational resources and broadened professional debate. Lack of peer review, loss of privacy and interpersonal animosity are some commonly cited concerns.

Twitter is designed as a platform to share ideas rather than personal encounters, giving it an advantage over other social media in professional use. Posts of up to 140 characters encourage succinct communication and ‘hashtags’ can optimise connectivity by attaching reference labels.

An attitudes survey towards social media in gastroenterology and hepatology was conducted among NI trainees and all Belfast Trust consultants and specialty doctors. Responses from survey participants indicated that a minority use social media in their professional lives but over half would entertain this idea if the right opportunity was presented. A majority of responders strongly disagreed that a professional account should be used for ‘social matters’.

A USG Twitter account has been established to give fellow members and delegates the opportunity to communicate in this way. By linking up with accounts for other societies and journals in gastroenterology and hepatology we hope to enhance exposure to the latest research, guidelines and opinions in our specialty.

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